Walker, Williamson Back

No real surprise here, but it's being reported on cubs.com that the Cubs picked up the options on Todd Walker ($2.5 mil) and Scott Williamson ($2 mil) for next season. As previously mentioned, Burnitz's option was bought out for $500,000 and he's already filed for free agency. Apparently ESPN radio in Chicago is also reporting that the Cubs are close to a 2 year/$6 million deal with Glendon Rusch. I'll spare you my opinion until I know if it's true or not. As for Walker, that's awfully cheap for one of the better offensive second basemen in the league, even if his defense is a bit below par. But it's the sort of below par defense I can live with, in the fact that he he's not chucking the ball into the right field stands or letting balls go through the wickets. He mostly avoids the sort of heart-wrenching errors that deflate a ballclub. No, his defensive deficiencies are due to a lack of range and inability to turn a quick double play, which is more than passable when he carries a stick better than a good portion of the rest of the second basemen in the NL. Iíd be inclined to platoon him with a superior defensive second basemen on the days when the hurler on the mound is of the groundball variety, but I have serious doubts that our coaching staff possesses the forward thinking to make this even plausible. Williamson was a no-brainer. He was signed for the 2006 season, last year was just the warmup, just as Hendry did for Ryan Dempster. Letís all hope for the same results. I wouldnít be too surprised if Hendry makes a run at Octavio Dotel for the same reasons this off-season, although itís rumored he may be ready to go by spring training.
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Comments

Rob G.-
"Iíd be inclined to platoon him with a superior defensive second basemen on the days when the hurler on the mound is of the groundball variety, but I have serious doubts that our coaching staff possesses the forward thinking to make this even plausible."

If Walker was platooned with Neifi ("a superior defensive 2B"), almost every poster on ehre would be ripping Dusty.

For what it's worth I read "superior defensive replacement" and thought "oh crap Neifi"...so I guess Manny has a point.

But I really really hate Neifi. Even as a supersub - pinch hit Zambrano for him.

Has Macias been found in Lake Michigan yet? No? I guess my people haven't done their job.

most likely yes, if he was doing it for good reason though such as the Cubs pitcher that day was a groundball pitcher (maddux or Z or Williams) then it would most likely be unjustified. If the opposing pitcher was a lefty and the Cubs were throwing a groundball pitcher that day, then starting Neifi would not only be justfiable but a good idea. Of course, i have serious doubts that Baker and staff look at such things as the times when Neifi was platooned for Walker seemed to completely coincide with whether the opposing pitcher was lefty or righty and little to do with who was throwing for us that day. And although Neifi hit lefties better than he hit righties last year, it was still worse than how well Walker hit lefties. So to justfiably put him in the lineup over Walker, the reasoning would have to be defensive and to maximize the defensive platoon, you'd want it on a day when he would be inclined to field more groundballs.

I suspect Neifi willl land a starting gig somewhere next year and go back to being Neifi and Cedeno will be the uber-backup next year, potentially being groomed to take over for 2007.

I also heard on the radio that the Cubs are one of 4 teams negotiating with Raphael Furcal.

So which teams are we bidding against (other than the Braves)? Marlins? Nationals? Diamondbacks? Dodgers? (Izturis is out with surgery, no?)

Teams clearly not in the market for a SS are: Yanks/Mets, Stl, Redsox, Whitesox, Angels, Giants, Orioles, A's, Padres, Rangers, Indians

so who is ozzie kissing? his son?

why is his son in full uniform? at least darrin was a ballboy...

I hope the Rusch signing is a smoke screen or will be part of a trade or something. If we have him penciled in as a 5th starter again, we are settling. We don't need to settle we need the best.

I don't think Dusty can be trusted with Neifi, but it might not be a horrendous idea. Perez is a great defender and generally sports around a 700 OPS vs righties. Last year it was 737. That said, I'd like to see Cedeno get some PT and I can't see playing them both and scoring any runs.

well technically the cubs can't negotiate yet, right?

4 teams, huh? probably just a guess by the writer but I would say
Cubs
Braves
Seattle
Toronto

okay random guessing on my part really. D'backs just hired a new GM, not to mention Stephen Drew looks just about ready. maybe the Red Sox or Angels are going to eat some more cash and trade on of their mistakes from last year. Marlins can't possibly think they have the cash to do that, and the Dodgers have Guzman/LaRoche waiting in the wings. I suspect them to make a push for Nomar actually. But who knows to be honest....

Houston wouldn't surprise me either. They have to realize that Adam Everett isn't all that good and they should have some cash laying around after missing out on Beltran and Kent last year and replacing them with youngins' instead.

oops. the above should say "as a righty" not "vs righties". obviously he would be hitting vs. lefties as walker's platoon buddy.

Yeah, can't wait to see that horrible defense at 2nd next year. Just think about all of those games Todd Walker won with his offense in 2005.

I'll assume the Cubs have no intention of keeping Todd Walker until he takes the field on Opening Day. This is the smart move. Pick up the option and he's a pretty nice trade piece. I'll be shocked if he's a Cub in January.

Things I'm curious about with Walker:

>Why has he been cast aside so much during his career? He's been traded for awful players - Todd Sears, Alex Ochoa. Everybody seems to speak well of him, but he's been run out of town by everybody from Bowden to Epstein to Ryan.

>If he's so good, like, almost as good as Vidro, why isn't he rich? I can't think of another player as consistent who has actually had his salary decline.

CUBSTER: It ain't the D'backs, bro. Arizona is prepared to let Stephen Drew win the starting SS job in Spring Training if he can do it. And I believe the Nationals will sign Neifi Perez to a two-year deal (for around $5 mil) to be their everyday SS (they claimed him when the Cubs placed him on waivers in August).

If Furcal will only play SS, and if he wants at least $40 mil for four years (minimum), then I would guess the list of possible Furcal suitors would be the Cubs and Braves (for sure), and probably the Dodgers and the Mariners.

If Furcal would be willing to play 2B, then you can add the Mets and Red Sox to the list (ahead of the Dodgers and Mariners). And I wouldn't be surprised if the Cardinals make an offer, with an eye toward playing Furcal at SS and moving Eckstein to 2B in 2006. Eckstein-Furcal (or Furcal-Eckstein) would be a pretty decent 1-2 at the top of the Cardinals order.

But I still think Furcal will either re-sign with the Braves (if Schuerholz can find the cash sometime in the next couple of weeks), or else he will sign with the Cubs. I believe Hendry will put a "full-court press" on Team Furcal once the free-agent gates open on November 11th.

If the Cubs DO sign Furcal, then I believe Todd Walker will probably be traded, but only if Ronny Cedeno can claim the starting 2B job in Spring Training. If Cedeno struggles, then the Cubs will hang onto Walker to play 2B for one more year, and then Cedeno will have to battle Eric Patterson for the starting 2B job in 2007.

The 4 teams that will go after Furcal

1. US
2. ATL
3. LAD
4. STL

All teams with SS openings, and no stud prospect to replace him in 06 or 07. with STL if they could get a top flight SS Eck will be moved to 2b.

thanks for the update Rob. good news!

don't know why so many people are down on walker. can't argue with those numbers on O, and can't argue with that quality for only 2.5 mill

why are we trading him if we get furcal?

i heard a rumor that the cubs are seriously considering putting nomar in left. interesting. i don't know where that leaves murton, although i would be fine putting him in RF, but i don't see the cubs doing it.

furcal
walker/murton
lee
ramirez
nomar
murton/walker
barrett
[insert generic decent CFer here]

i'd be ok with that. leaves us money to go get a quality bullpen arm and a good bench.

of course what i'd really like is GILES in right and murton in left, but i don't think that's going to happen.

I think it would be stupid not to play Todd Walker, I don't think he will be traded anyway. His bat is crucial to the Cubs Line-up!

Just a quick off-topic chime-in. I am growing to despise the Chicago media and view it as an impediment to the Cubs' success. Consider the following scenario:

After the Sox World Series victory, a Trib reporter gives Dusty Baker a call and asks, essentially, does the Sox' championship put a lot of extra pressure on the Cubs?

Baker responds by saying no, not really; he's pretty happy for Ozzie and those guys.

HEADLINE:

"Baker denies Sox win puts Cubs under gun"

It would be funny, except it's true. Check out chicagotribune.com's lead story for the Cubs.

You sign Rusch and Walker because it buys you time and gives you "options". The financial risk/reward out weighs the negatives. Like Rusch or not a lefty starter-albeit a #6 is still worth keeping. Everyone needs 6 starters...As for Walker, at 2.5, pick him up. If you get better alternatives-adjust accordingly.

I like Furcal. I like speed. A guy at the top stealing 50 bases would make a radical difference. I love Johnny Damon but I don't see him stealing 50 bases any more...

"And I believe the Nationals will sign Neifi Perez to a two-year deal (for around $5 mil) to be their everyday SS (they claimed him when the Cubs placed him on waivers in August). "-az phil

The Nats already filled their quota for all glove-no hit infielders when they signed Guzman last year, had Carroll already, Deivi Cruz and recently signed Damian Jackson. They're in no position to sign Perez for any more than $1 mil a year, I don't see them even taking a shot at him.

Walker fits into this team as the #2 hitter. Whether Baker wants to use Walker as the teams #2 hitter is the question. If Walker is returning and batting 6th or 7th, get rid of him, that is a waste of his talent and ability for this team.

Walker is the prototypical #2 hitter in baseball. He makes contact, hits doubles and doesn't strike out much. You put a base stealer on ahead of him and you have the perfect hit and run combo. But again Baker thinks Walker helps this team more in the #6 slot. Tell that to Derrek Lee who only drove in 35 RBI in the second half.

MikeC:
"But again Baker thinks Walker helps this team more in the #6 slot."

Last year, 2005, Walker played over 2/3 of the time in the #2 hole. Only when he immediately came back from the leg whip, and thus knee injury, did he really bat #6. Is this revisonist history already less than one month after the season ended?

But as for the 2006 team, I think we need to see who else is on the team before we start making a batting order.

Only Cubs fans could think you can take a team that finished under .500, move a SS to LF, a LF to RF, a 2B to CF, a SS to 2nd, re-sign a horrible defensive 2B, sign a number 6 starter, and think things are all peachy.

Yeah, this organization is sure headed in the right direction and with the help of you fans we'll be winning that World Series in about, oh, say, 250 years or so.

How about we try playing guys at their natural positions for a change? You know, keep a SS at SS, play a 2B at 2nd, and a RF in RF.

Nah! We'll just re-sign everybody and move them around.

Look out St. Louis, here come the Cubs!

Nomar can't play SS anymore, but he sure had a fine and dandy month. Let's move him to LF.

Walker has bum knees, can't play defense, has no speed, and can't shut his mouth, but let's bring him back, too.

Rusch was no good out of the pen and is a quality #17 starter. Let's bring him back, but only if we can pay him more than his option. Let's not be cheap about a quality #26 starter. Give him the franchise tag.

Cedeno has had 2 very good minor league seasons and shown he deserves a shot at the ML level, but let's move him to 2nd only if bum-knee guy doesn't work out.

Let's move our LF who was one of the top 3 or 4 bright spots on the team to RF. He's not that good defensively in LF, but we all know that LF is the toughest position in the OF to play, right?

It wouldn't be a complete team without moving the 2nd baseman/utility guy out to CF either. He misses signs every other day, but they weren't really important ones.

Go Cubs!

There is good news. I suddenly have a new found respect for Dusty Baker and Jim Hendry after reading this garbage.

Cor-Cor tops the failure list...

http://minorleagueball.com/

Look who's talking The Rock, you were in The Scorpion King and Doom. What the hell do you know anyway? Those movies SUCKED!

The Rock is my new hero. When will we Cub fans finally value defense??

"Only Cubs fans could think you can take a team that finished under .500, move a SS to LF, a LF to RF, a 2B to CF, a SS to 2nd, re-sign a horrible defensive 2B, sign a number 6 starter, and think things are all peachy."

While I don't share your sarcasm, I do share your general sentiment. It seems like people here feel a couple little moves get us over the top. I think if we truly are going to become a top level contender assured of winning 90+ games, we need some wholesale makeovers.

One thing that few people, if any, talk about...I don't think our rotation gets us to the playoffs, pure and simple. Zambrano is the only one that I can but a "check" by where I am confident he will be a top 10 pitcher in the league...and even he has too many mental breakdwons.

Prior, along with being injury prone, got knocked around the 2nd half of the year? Can we count on him to pitch 200 innings? Can we count on him to go deep into games? Can we count on him to keep the ball in the ball park? I don't know. He could be Cy Young material, he could be an average #2 starter...we need more than that.

Wood...well, he's Wood. I lost patience with him before this year, and this just capped my frustration. I have to go in to next year assuming he will not give us anywhere near what we need from him to become a world beater team.

Maddux...God only knows if he will have anything in the tank next year. If I could depend completely on the top 3 pitchers, I wouldn't worry about Maddux...but based on recent history...we need someone more dependable at the back of our rotation

Rookie, Rusch, whomever...again, just not nearly enough to compensate if Wood Prior or Maddux don't put up front line numbers.

Some of the scenario's listed above in this thread depend on perfect health and leave little margin for error for anyone not to meet their career expectations. They seem like "safe" options to me. I think we went into this year, and even last year, to an extent, with the "safe" option...and it came back to bite us in the ass.

We need more than just a few role players here or there...we need some wholesale changes in order to really be confident that we have a 90-100 win team where some players may underperform, but will be held up by their teamates who overperform...St. Louis and Atlanta have been masters at that the last few years.

Ok, I am not trying to be snide or condescending in the least, but here is a list of foolish things said in the comments on this post:

Cubster: I also heard on the radio that the Cubs are one of 4 teams negotiating with Raphael Furcal.

- 2 weeks exclusive negotiating rights for a team after the free agency period begins.

Rob G: and the Dodgers have Guzman/LaRoche waiting in the wings.

- Those are two third basemen

Rob G, on Houston: should have some cash laying around

- Maybe they should, but paying Bagwell and Petite $34.5 mil for '06 means they don't.

The Rock: For posting, then posting again agreeing with himself.

The Rock: Give him the franchise tag.

- Uh, wrong sport.

Tom Hendry: ...I don't think our rotation gets us to the playoffs, pure and simple. Zambrano is the only one that I can but a "check" by where I am confident he will be a top 10 pitcher in the league.

- The Cubs had the same number of top 10 starters in the league as the Cardinals. If you have 1 top 10 starter, you're above average.

Manny: Only when he immediately came back from the leg whip, and thus knee injury, did he really bat #6.

- Walker had to petition in public to bat at the top of the lineup, pretty much calling out Dusty's cluelessness about how 3 extra times on base in a week is better than 1 stolen base.

Oh and statistically, Neifi wasn't a very good 2nd basement in '05.

In the grasping for straws that Baker might be gone area......rumor has it Paul Depodesta will be fired by the Dodgers. No way in hell would Depodesta hire Baker to manage a team, but the new GM? Some small hope still looms.

Adam,

Look at HOU. They won the NL with 3 stud pitchers and a retarded offense and manager. Look as much as I hate Baker I will take him over Gardner anyday. Our offense this year was better than HOU and will only get better with Furcal replacing Neifi and the 2 new OF can only be better than Burny and Cpat. Prior is NOT injury prone. In 03 he had a nasty collision with Marcus Giles, in 04 was his only injury that was his fault with his achillies, last ST nobody would have known of his injury if he were a guy like Wuertz it was minor and everybody overreacted to it, and that Hawpe thing was simply a freak injury. We are going to need Wood to step up this year. But I like the shape were in. Even if Rusch is the 5th starter. He has been solid when he has been a rotation regular. Expect for the last month and a half of this year.

As long as we retain Macias, we are set.

For God's sake, who would be the emergency catcher!??!

"The Rock: Give him the franchise tag.

- Uh, wrong sport."

- Uh, Sarcasm!

While we're moving people around and truly fixing all of our problems shouldn't we consider moving Ramirez to SS? CF? Seriously, it's about as stupid as moving everyone else around so why not? How about we move him to SS and Barrett to CF that way we can Zambrano's bat in the lineup behind the plate on days he doesn't pitch?

Actually being serious for a moment, have you guys thought about filling holes with people who have actually played the position or is this just fantasy baseball to all of you where defense means absolutely nothing?

The collective thoughts and ideas on this site are absolutely mind-boggling at times.

This is a Cubs blog. At least act like you know something about baseball. No, not that fantasy crap, real baseball.

Miscellaneous tidbits and questions:

from Paul Sullivan/Trib:The Cubs still can talk to Burnitz about returning, but there was never any thought of picking up his $7 million option. The Cubs are likely to trade for a right fielder with more speed than power.
-
So which RF fits this bill? Austin Kearns.
-
Toni Gianneti/Sun-Times: Eligible players have until Nov. 11 to file for free agency.

Real Neal and all: on what date do teams start actual negotiations with free agents (not including their original team)?

Real Neal: What I heard on sports radio was said the way I posted it, but I know they meant to be starting rumors as to which teams were preparing or lining up to negotiate with Furcal. Sorry for the sloppy post.

anti-Cardinal headline: Pujols win-shares decline from 41 to 35

pro-Cardinal headline: Pujols beats DLee for win-share lead 35-34

I don't see much discussion here including Bill James' Win Shares. A computation that implies the contribution to wins. VORP is the Baseball Prospectus equivalent, no? Hockey has a nice and easy stat that works best for me, the +/- numbers for goals for/against when a player is on the ice.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/200...

from Bernie Miklasz/Stl Post-Dispatch:

Our man Jim Henzler, a senior research analyst at STATS, helped Bill James devise the "Win Shares" formula that is used to assess a player's value to his team.

Henzler offers these Cardinals-related nuggets from 2005:

About the National League MVP race: Albert Pujols edges Chicago's Derrek Lee, 35-34, for the league win-shares lead. And with 22 win shares, which ranks tied for 21st in the league, "Atlanta's Andruw Jones should be an afterthought for MVP," according to Henzler. "Heck, Jim Edmonds had 26 win shares, and another center fielder, (Cincinnati's) Brady Clark, matched Jones with 22 himself, and I haven't heard anyone mention Clark as a potential candidate."

"Look who's talking The Rock, you were in The Scorpion King and Doom. What the hell do you know anyway? Those movies SUCKED! Posted by: Chad at October 28, 2005 11:23 PM"

Are you serious? I'm discredited because you assume my name has something to do with some actor who is in some movies i'd never even waste my time watching? You're a bright one, aren't ya?

Shows how silly and worthless win shares are.

with STL if they could get a top flight SS Eck will be moved to 2b.

and Brian Giles has been quoted that if he doesn't get a deal with the Padres, Stl is his next choice.

if the Stl lineup starts with Furcal/Eck/BGiles/Pujols/Edmonds...I will be really angry with Cub management. But I see this coming.

Sullivan's hotstove contribution says the Cubs "are likely to trade for a right fielder with more speed than power."

Ichiro is way overpaid, but if he has grown frustrated with the situation in Seatle and they want to unload him, maybe they'll eat some of the approximate 22 million he's owed over the next two years in exchange for some pitching prospects and J Williams.

However, that's a big IF, and they would have to be desperate to eat some of the money and accept only midlevel prospects.

That being said, is he worth it? He'd be a defensive upgrade over Burnitz and Sosa for sure, but he wouldn't supply their power.

Hey, my Wrigley Field calendar arrived. I knew there must be some reason I'd spent thousands on season tickets over the years.

"- The Cubs had the same number of top 10 starters in the league as the Cardinals. If you have 1 top 10 starter, you're above average."

Above average...now there's something to shoot for! Let's celebrate 2005 Cubs fans - it was an above average year! Poo

Manny wants out of Boston. The cubs should be on the horn with Theo Epstein (or whomever is running the red sox right now) to bring him to wrigley. His defensive inadequacies have been chronicled but he can hit the ball a ton. A 3-4-5 of Lee/Mann/ARam would be devestating

Is it just me, or has this place gotten a lot snarkier in the last few weeks?

Ichiro is over-paid? I don't know what a guy who has 5 straight 200 hit seasons and a career batting line of .332 goes for, but $12 million sounds like a reasonable price. Not to mention he is the best defensive RFer in baseball hands down.

I know you said it is a long shot Dave and it is. For the other people that don't know, the Mariners are owned by Nintendo. He draws a hell of alot of fans from Japan to Seattle. He is the image of the Mariners. He is worth so much more than just his salary to that franchise.

To whoever said the Cardinals would be interested in Furcal: While they may be interested, they will probably devote most of theit attention to right and left fields where they have holes.

Yikes, then that means they intend to end up with a B Giles or Manny or Ichiro just like us, right?

"So which RF fits this bill? Austin Kearns."

I don't think Austin Kearns. In 350 some games, he has something like a dozen stolen bases. Of course this is partially an attribute to the Reds grip it and rip it mindset, but he definitely isn't a burner.

The most attractive player has got to be Giles for right field. What'd he have, 120 walks last year? Even though his home/road HR splits aren't staggering, we could expect a jump to 25 big knocks after stopping playing half his games in a park half the size of Yellowstone.

And, we don't need homers, we need a guy who's career OPS is a shade below A-Rod's.

I think the prime directive last year was "purge the malcontents and sources of controversy". I think Hendry accomplished that, with one notable exception (JB Baker, Jr.). The result of that focus was his hands were tied by ridding of the team of Sosa until all the desirable free agents were off the market.

Another self-inflicted wound for the Cubs last year was the (pardon the non-PC term) Chinese fire drill surrounding Dempster and Rusch.

Those two things make me think that Hendry has two new prime directives for this year: (1) move fast, and (2) set roles. I believe that when Hendry resigned Dempster it was with the understanding that Demp would be the closer unless Wood had to revert to the bullpen in 2006, in which case Demp would go to setup. If Rusch is resigned, I think it means that he's the number 5 starter, and that J Williams is out the door in a trade that Hendry already has worked out.

I think it also means that (unlike the past) the Cubs will make serious to slightly crazy initial offers to the FAs they really want and maybe overpay to get guys to come, hopefully shutting off a bidding war by coming strong early. I won't be surprised if the early rumors have the Cubs making big offers to a couple of FAs.

My theory also argues against moving Nomar to left, Murton to right, etc.

If the Cubs are still sitting on their thumbs at Christmas time, then I'll be surprised, and my idea will be wrong.

Hey, my Wrigley Field calendar arrived. I knew there must be some reason I'd spent thousands on season tickets over the years.

It reminds me of when they sent out that book after 2002. If they finish under .500, we get trinkets. If they finish over .500, we get a price hike.

Regarding FAs: the most recent Vine Line, IIRC, hinted they were going to make a run at Burnett, and might have referred to him as the number-one priority. Furcal was in there too. Now that I think about it, I don't recall reading about Jacque Jones. I don't know what kind of stock should be but in this stuff.

Following up MikeC above, DePodesta has just been fired. It'll be interesting to see where he ends up.

Hey I didn't get my calander yet...

DePodesta fired and Epstein might not back.

SABR GM's not having a good week.

Rob G: and the Dodgers have Guzman/LaRoche waiting in the wings.
- Those are two third basemen

---
Dodgers | Guzman Could Face Position Change
Tue, 12 Jul 2005 20:12:55 -0700

Jill Painter, of the Los Angeles Daily News, reports Los Angeles Dodgers minor league prospect SS Joel Guzman may eventually face a position change due to the presence of SS Cesar Izturis with the parent club. Guzman is playing both shortstop and third base at Double-A Jacksonville.

Dodgers | Guzman Wins Minor League Honor
Fri, 1 Oct 2004 01:02:28 -0700

The Los Angeles Daily News reports Los Angeles Dodgers SS Joel Guzman won the organization's minor league player of the year honor. Guzman started the year in Single-A Vero Beach and hit .307 with 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 87 games, then earned a promotion to Double-A Jacksonville and hit .280 with nine homers and 35 RBI.

He has been playing third in the winter leagues right now, but it is apparently of his own doing.

LaRoche (http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/news/a...)
---
Q: As you mentioned in your first journal, they might move you or Joel Guzman to another position. What other positions would you be comfortable playing? What other position would you prefer playing? -- John L.

I'd say somewhere in the infield, probably short or second. That's where I'd be most comfortable. But I'd play anywhere to get me up there. If they want me to play outfield or catch, I'd do that. Heck, if they want me to pitch. ... But I'll just keep playing every day, and I'll leave that to them.

He also played short in college.

And the Dodgers have no money and apparently no GM, they're not going after Furcal.

----

Rob G, on Houston: should have some cash laying around
Maybe they should, but paying Bagwell and Petite $34.5 mil for '06 means they don't.

Just rumor mongering on my part and I'm sure their fine with Everett, heck they made the World Series with him. But they made quite an effort to sign Beltran and never really ended up spending that money. 2 long playoff runs in the last year should give a nice boost to their payroll. According to Hardball Dollars they have $50+ mil committed in salaries next year to only about 6 players. Their payroll last year was $86 mil. It was just a thought....

from Paul Sullivan/Trib: The Cubs are likely to trade for a right fielder with more speed than power.

Kearns came to mind because I know Hendry likes him and there were trade rumors from last year. He's not a base stealer but when healthy (which is a big problem) has a good OBP. Career OBP is .360 but last years numbers suck and he spent over a month back in the minors.

Giles is an OBP machine (Career .413) with good power for Wrigley. He'd come as a FA (not a trade). Not much of a basestealer (10-15, which isn't bad) but that's not the point with him.

The reference actually sounded more like Ichiro, but I doubt Seattle will want to lose their Japanese following. Maybe Sully was just using a WSox point as in their move to get Scotty Pods.

Who else is tradable that is a RF with speed?

Carl Crawford (he won't be 25 till next August) has been a LF but otherwise fits Sully's description that I'd like. The Devil Rays have a glut of OF's if Baldelli comes back. So how's his throwing arm? His career OBP only .320, so with a career BA of .289 he doesn't walk much and obviously his asset is base stealing. Last year he had 27 walks in 644AB's.

I agree that Brian Giles (or Ichiro) the most desirable choices I've looked at so far.

Giles also is lefty bats which I now Hendry wants to mix in with the righty punch ARam/DLee provide. So what's not to like about him?

Crawford is a lefty bat too. With the Devil Rays having a glut of young outfielders led by Jonny Gomes, and a new GM who should be more compatible to trade with then Chuck LaMar.

Baldelli is the same age as Crawford, not as much speed (not many have Crawfords stealing ability) but he did steal 27 bases in his rookie year. He's a CF but his OBP was only .326 and he missed last year from knee surgery so I doubt he's trade bait until they see how he's doing in the spring, as as a 1st round pick I doubt he's going anywhere yet.

Jonny Gomes has a great first year, is 25, bats righty but he's even less likely to be going. I guess that leaves...

Aubry Huff. He'll be 29 in December, bats Lefty, Career OBP of .342 but had a very mediocre 2005. Questionable defensively (in 2002 he played 1B and before that 3B) but he was a hot trade topic for the Cubs last off season. If you don't look at 2005, his OBP for the 3 preceding years was .360's. So he does walk a bit and has 20-30 HR power. Speed (nada).

I want other choices, but Brian Giles would be the real deal.

SABR GM's not having a good week.

Well I think Epstein will be back, but McCourt is a buffoon. As rotoworld so eloquently put it:
---
DePodesta was just such a moron to let Adrian Beltre, Steve Finley, Shawn Green and Alex Cora go. Sure, the Dodgers wouldn't have had any better of a record if they had been kept and would be in worse position entering 2006, but the press would be content and that's what matters. Not only is DePodesta being terminated after just two seasons, but in the first of those seasons, his team won the division. If the Dodgers can replace DePodesta with Pat Gillick, they'd likely be OK. They'll probably hire someone a lot worse.
---

McCourt bought the team with borrowed money from MLB cause he'd stand behind Selig's plans, he asked Dodger employees to think of the McCourt's as the brand, not the Dodgers, he RAISED the parking prices for a place where parking is a nightmare and he slashed payroll for one of the premiere franchises in baseball with a healthy revenue stream so he could pay back his loans.

On the other side of town, Arte Moreno, raised payroll, slashed beer prices and has made the playoffs both years that he was the owner. There won't be a Dodger fan left by 2008.

WRT Octavio Dotel,
I don't think the cubs should pursue him.
I have always been concerned about his makeup. He seems too uptight, and too mentally fragile.
For the right price, he is certainly a good pitcher to have stashed away a la Dempster and Williamson, but I doubt he'll ever return to being a top tier closer. I wouldn't be suprised if he didn't return to baseball at all.

There are still Dodger fans in Brooklyn. I think they'll be OK.

5 innings of no-hit ball from Guzman today (3BB, 3K). Murton 2 for 4, EPat 0 for 4.

I don't see SEA going after Furcal with the way the Betancourt kid played down the stretch last season...they'll need to look for a 2B first. Toronto I'm not so sure either because they have Aaron Hill who Riccardi really likes although he's more of a 2B, but they already have O.Hudson there, so Hill gets SS by default. I could see Houston with Everett's paultry bat along with the Cubs and Braves even though I see ATL putting the $ into getting B.Wagner or Bj Ryan..they need a closer #1 and a ton of bullpen help. If Clemens comes back, the Astros will have to ante up again unless Roger takes another $5 mil deal for one year. Not sure where the money will come from for Furcal...and they also need a 5th starter and at least one OF.

I'd also rather see B.Giles over Huff...with the only advantage for Huff being that he's a FA after 2006 so if he doesn't work out in RF the Cubs can always move on with the FA class of 2007. It would depend on what TB might want in trade...most likely 2 SP prospects...R.Hill, Nolasco, or Pawalek? I wouldn't do that deal. Huff makes $6-7 mil...it shouldn't take more than $9 for B.Giles..if he'd take a 3 year deal, I'd go that route. TB won't trade Crawford, they'd like to move Baldelli first, move Crawford to CF with Gomes in RF and await D.Young's arrival in June of 2006 in LF. I don't think Gathright is going to hit enough to be a starter and they can move Huff to 1B or DH if they need to so it's going to take a good deal to pry Huff from TB.

Angel Guzman's had back to back solid outings, nice!
...and Mighty Matt Murton stole a base today!

a few tidbits from this months Vineline:

The Cub schedule is included and they end the season at home against the Rockies. First home series is against the Cardinals. WSox at Wrigley 1st weekend in July and at US Comiskular 3rd weekend in May. No games vs Stl or Houston in September. 7 games with Cincy in Sept and 4 games in Atlanta, 3 Philly, and 6 home games vs LA/SF.

The "Inside Pitch" column says Hendry has $35M to spend, but doesn't state if the $5 going to Dempster is included in that figure. The cash available to spend has been extensively covered here on TCR.

...Aramis Ramirez agent is also Furcal's agent (Paul Kinzer) who told the writers that Furcal would love to play for the Cubs (of course any agent will say that to a prospective suitor).

...aparently Ryan Dempster and AJ Burnett are close pals from their Marlin days (article hinted that Hendry may use that if he's going after Burnett) and that Burnett was a target for Hendry. Also mentioned on Hendry's radar screen is Jerrod Washburn and BJ Ryan. If the signing of Rusch is true, check Washburn off the list. There is a separate feature article on the life and times of Glendon.

...also a paragraph stating the virtues of Brian Giles

..."Despite Nomar Garciaparra's strong finish, his return seems a long shot at this point."

I agree CarmenFanzone, we need to stock the rotation 7 deep with this peanut brittle bunch. You can always move Rusch or J.Williams near the deadline if you have to especially if they're making less than $4 mil a year. I'd keep Williams over Rusch because he's more consistent start to start...but then again when do the Cubs give a prospect a real shot?..more than running Rich Hill out for 2 emergency starts because Wood felt a twinge or Prior had a runny nose.

Back to the Furcal interest, I think LAD could be a viable option, considering the Dodgers have freed up some $ with Dreifort's laughable contract finally expiring and I believe Todd Hundley is now also off the books (lol). Then again, it's McCourt, and he's a cheapskate and they also need a 3B until LaRoche is ready...not sure if Izturis is going to be ready for spring training or not. Some people are saying STL, but if they wouldn't pay Renteria that same type of $, I can't see them giving it to Furcal...although Larry Walker's deal is up, I think Reggie Sanders is also a FA now, and they also need to sign at least one starter if Matt Morris isn't coming back. I don't think there are going to be as many teams interested as people think. I can't see FLA coming up with the money either..there are rumors that they might have to trade Delgado since they aren't going to get their new stadium deal...they needed to move Lowell last off-season. MIN needs a SS but probably won't have the money..they'll also most likely look to sign Bill Mueller at 3B. Possibly WASH, but with the ownership situation up in the air, Bowden may not be given that type of money to spend...plus they have big money tied up in the infield already with Guzman, Vidro, and Castilla and they also need some starters as Loaiza just filed for FA. The only other teams I can think of that need a SS are all small market teams like MIL that won't spend the money...not to mention garnering any interest by Furcal anyway. I still think the Cubs and Braves are the only real possibilities unless Houston or D-Backs get into it...but I can't see ARI giving a SS a long term deal with their 2 top prospects (S.Drew and Justin Upton) in the system.

Cubs '06

SS Furcal
2B Walker/Cedeno
1B D-Lee
RF B.Giles/Huff
3B Aramis
LF Murton
C Barrett/Blanco
CF Please no Corey (could Jacque Jones play CF?..great glove, great arm, good speed)

If we do get Furcal I see the Cubs holding onto Walker until the end of spring training to see if Cedeno can play 2B then they might move Walker to an AL team like TEX or SEA as a DH. I don't know why Cubs fans still think Nomar is going to come back and possibly play LF, but there are no signs that Nomar is wanted back. Murton doesn't have the arm nor the glove to play RF and Hendry wants Murton to start this year. Bruce Levine has said that Nomar won't be back and I trust his sources over anyone with the Tribune. Peter Gammons has hinted that he may very well sign with LA to fill in for Izturis until he's ready and he could play 3B after Izturis comes back. Plus LA could get him on the cheap with an incentives laden contract...and that's right up McCourt's alley.

"DePodesta was a moron for letting Beltre, Green Finley, Alex Cora get away?

How do you figure that? Beltre was a bust this season in SEA, Finley was even worse, is 40 yrs old, and lost his starting job down the stretch. Green was OK, but if I could've moved his $16-17 mil a year contract I would've too. Alex Cora was expendible with signing Kent, didn't even start in CLE behind Peralta, and sat on the bench after being traded to BOS. DePodesta's failures were signing JD Drew and not realizing that he had Jeff Kent and Milton Bradley in the same clubhouse. I don't think he can be faulted for resigning O.Perez or signing D.Lowe either. Those appeared to be good moves at that money given the fact that guys like Kris Benson and Eric Milton were getting $7-9 mil a year last off-season. They were riddled with injuries throughout the season, Gagne, Valentin, Drew, M.Bradley, O.Perez, Izturis, Werth all missed significant time and they were still tied down with the the previous GM's bad contracts with Dreifort, T.Hundley et al. Their lineup down the stretch looked like an AAA lineup.

2 years is not enough time and with their solid pitching and dismal division it's not going to take a lot to get back to the top of the NL Worst. Lowe and Perez will be better. They'll let Bradley go in FA curing one problem, if Gagne is ready by the opener or close there after that's another remedy, they need one starter if Weaver doesn't resign, they'll probably get Nomar on the cheap to play 3B or fill in at SS. I think they'll make a run at Bengie Molina or Ramon Hernandez in FA for C, then they just need a corner OF like Jacque Jones to replace Bradley, maybe a 1B to upgrade over Choi, and they're the favorite to win the division. The only bad contract they have now is Drew's. If it weren't for the McCourts this would be a good GM job right now.

if you're commenting about post #52, that was from rotoworld.com and they were being sarcastic regarding Depo being a moron.

My bad on Aaron Hill, I was considering him a 3B, but he was really only playing there cause Koskie was injured. And I don't expect Seattle either, they have a better leadoff man already and some SS prospects. There was that whole "I'm willing to move to second" thing, which probably opens the door to a few places like the Mets and Red Sox as mentioned earlier.

Dear Mr. The Rock,

Regarding post #36 it was a joke. I do not suspect that you are former wrestler turned actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. I wish you were so I could lay the smacketh down on your candy ass! IF YOU SMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLL-OOOOOOH WHAT THE CHAD IS COOKING!!!!!!!

Its called a sense of humor. Grow one.

When does TCR start jumping on the HIRE DEPODESTA bandwagon?? Or, if a deal doesn't get done with Epstein, HIRE EPSTEIN!!

TCR as a whole is a SABR leaning blog, there are two of teh most SABR minded guy that might be out there. Why is there not more clamoring for them?

Is it possible to sign Rusch to this supposed 2-year deal and then trade him since he's already a Cub or do the same rules apply about not being able to sign and trade a player for a period of time? Signing Glendon Rusch just tells me this team isn't even trying. He's a horrible reliever and a very bad starting pitcher. I find it hard to believe we don't have at least 4 or 5 guys in the minors that could do a better job than Rusch.

Since good things do not happen to this franchise, I never bothered to consider the machinations by which either of them would end up here.

I would love either Epstein or DePodesta. But like Ron, I hold no hope that the Trib could pull the trigger on either one.

I haven't however given up on Hendry completely yet. He had a bad year this year, but overall I feel positively about the trades and signings he's made during his tenure. I'll wait to see his off and in-season moves this year before rushing to judgement.

And before you accuse me of double standards, it's hard for me not to look at the talent the club had in 2004 and feel that Baker was at fault for the shortcomings. I've simply had more time to sour on him. There's plenty of blame for the 2005 collapse to go around.

For those of you keeping track at home:

Perpetrator YOMWB*
- -
Hendry.............1.00
Baker...............2.00
Rothschild.........2.01
McPhail...........11.00
Tribune Co.......24.00
Sianis.............60.00

My threshhold is 2.00, after which I have a tendency to begin foaming at the mouth at mention of perp's name.

*YOMWB = Years of Mr. Whipple's Blame is a statistic used frequently by Dodoworld and Baseball Protectus based on a complex algorithm wherein you ask Mr. Whipple how many years of blame he assigns to different parties and then multiply by 1 and add 0.

I want Manny... lets get him! :) Spend that money Tribune!

Is it just me, or has this place gotten a lot snarkier in the last few weeks?

Make that years.

I too think that Hendry does deserve some credit for bringing Lee, Ramirez, and Garciaparra to Chicago. But, if he doesn't get Furcal, a Starter, and some relief pitching, he should be out.

Furcal should be the clubs biggest target. As we all have said, there needs to be somebody on base for DLee and ARam. I also think the best guy for RF is Brian Giles. I also would like to see BJ Ryan and/or Tom Gordon in the Bullpen.

I think that JWilliams performance at the end of last season makes him a better choice than Rusch
(although I do remember thost 7 perfect innings against the Cards last year). I also think that Rusch would be great trade bate along with Jerome.

How does it make sense for Hendry to "clean house" of exceptional talents like Kyle Farnsworth (because he was carouser) and then make a NOTORIOUS DRUNK (presently in prison) like Rafael Furcal his primary free agent target this winter??

??

I thought Furcal was done with his prison sentence last year, at least that's what the story in his ESPN.com profile says.

Considering how mindful the Cubs have been of attitude and that another DUI would be Furcal's third (some sort of 3 strikes rule I'm sure applies and no, I don't know the exact law). I would hope to think that if Hendry goes after Furcal, he's talked to enough Atlanta folks to know for certain that all that stuff is behind him. It appears that most folks in Atlanta want him back badly, so it doesn't seem to be much of a problem for them. And if the Braves want him back, I'd trust Schuerholz and Co. that he's a risk worth taking. Of course they could just be fooling everyone just to get the draft pick.

#65 of 72: By The Rock (October 30, 2005 08:31 AM)
Is it possible to sign Rusch to this supposed 2-year deal and then trade him since he's already a Cub or do the same rules apply about not being able to sign and trade a player for a period of time? Signing Glendon Rusch just tells me this team isn't even trying. He's a horrible reliever and a very bad starting pitcher. I find it hard to believe we don't have at least 4 or 5 guys in the minors that could do a better job than Rusch.

-

ROCK: If the Cubs re-sign Rusch BEFORE he declines his 2006 player ooption and files for free-agrency, the Cubs can trade him at any time (presuming he does not get a "no trade" deal in his new contract).

If, however, Rusch exercises his player option and files for free-agency and then AFTER THAT HAPPENS the Cubs sign him to a new contract, the Cubs cannot trade him until June 15th of the following season without his permission. So there is an automatic "no trade" for all free-agents who sign major league contracts until June 15th of the following season, but the player does have the right to waive the "no trade."

Yes, Furcal has two DUI's not 3, is not presently in prison as far as I know (no matter what FoxSports says --sorry that was in my post) and is still known as an early morning carouser, which would make day baseball at Wrigley an adventure.

#28 of 73: By Real Neal (October 29, 2005 12:56 AM)
Ok, I am not trying to be snide or condescending in the least, but here is a list of foolish things said in the comments on this post:

Cubster: I also heard on the radio that the Cubs are one of 4 teams negotiating with Raphael Furcal.

- 2 weeks exclusive negotiating rights for a team after the free agency period begins.

REAL NEAL: The "exclusivity" during the first 15 days of the free-agency period applies ONLY to actually offering a contract. In the case of Rafael Furcal, it would NOT be a violation of the CBA for Jim Hendry (or any other representative of the Cubs organization) to contact Furcal and/or his agent and tell them that the Cubs have an interest in Furcal, discuss the length of the contract, what position he would play, where he would hit in the lineup, how much playing time he might be expected to get, etc. The ONLY thing Hendry cannot discuss with Furcal and/or his agent during the first 15 days of the free-agency period is how much money the Cubs are willing to offer.

So it seems likely that IF the Cubs are indeed interested in signing Furcal (and I believe they are), that Jim Hendry has already made contact and told Furcal and/or his agent that the Cubs are VERY interested, that they would be willing to offer a four year deal--possibly five, and that they would be willing to give him "no trade" rights for the first two or three yrears of the deal, plus that he would play SS and would be the Cubs lead-off hitter.

Hendry may even recruit Dusty Baker and perhaps Aramis Ramirez (who has the same agent as Furcal) to talk with Furcal during this initial 15-day period and try to "sell" him on the benefits of coming to Chicago and playing for the Cubs. That's what I meant when I said that I expected Hendry to put on a "full court press" in pursuit of Furcal.

"... and is still known as an early morning carouser, which would make day baseball at Wrigley an adventure."

That's why it took Alou a year to get used to playing for the Cubs. He too likes a drink or six after a game. But according to someone I talked to who should know, Alou took care of that sluggish feeling in years two and three the old school way - with tons of coffee and a little speed.

Hendry/MacPhail should definately try to work in a "morals" clause into a Furcal contract. With all of Farnz/Alou's fave watering holes around the yard Furcal may very well become the "Norm" of the neighborhood. Maybe Zambrano can hook him up with a laptop so they can search the web for porn errr instant message their families back home for hours together. Aramis seems like a quiet low-key guy and they're supposedly good friends so maybe he'll have a calming influence upon Furcal.

I know Hendry loves Bj Ryan but the Yanks are reportedly going to go hard after Bj and will probably outspend everyone for his services with Mariano getting up there in age. Ryan doesn't seem like a NY type of guy but neither did Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown. (yes I know they were both trades but they both wanted to go there). You might actually be able to get Billy Wagner for around the same price. Ryan will get at least $5-6 mil a year and I expect ATL to go after Wagner especially if Furcal leaves. I can't imagine Wagner will get more than $7 a year. Tom Gordon? Keep him...we already have Dempster at $5.1.

TBone, are you seriously suggesting on here that Moises Alou used controlled substances to get ready for day games at Wrigley in 2003 and 2004???

"But according to someone I talked to who should know, Alou took care of that sluggish feeling in years two and three the old school way - with tons of coffee and a little speed."

regarding Furcal:

Just what do we really know about this guy?
He's been variously called "first mlb player born in the 80's", actually born in 1979, no..really born August 24, 1978, and ..NO NO, he really really was born October 24, 1977.

Of course age has absolutely nothing to do with who gets to move up through the minor leagues and who gets ignored no matter what they do down there.

I mean, what if this guy just looks "mahvelous" for 52?

It's not like he's ever been truthful about anything. Not even his height which is listed at 5' 10". However his nickname, "the dwarf" belies that stat.

I believe the one most significant factor in the Cubs failing to win at least one pennant in the last 60 years is too much day baseball. In fact, it is interesting that the Cubs stopped winning pennants every three years right about at the exact same time that night baseball was being introduced throughout the minor leagues and major leagues.

Even for players who don't carouse, it is difficult to adjust to playing a lot of day games at home. Minor league teams play mostly night games, and all of the other major league teams play mostly night games (average 54 home night games per team per season). It isn't so much having to get up in the morning and go to work at 8 AM (although most ballplayers DO in fact become "nighthawks" after a couple of years in pro ball), it's that it's less of a physical drain to play night games at home during Summer months. If the Cubs are a LOT better than everybody else, it isn't that big of a deal. But when the Cubs are battling other teams for the Wild Card (for instance), the excessive number of home day games can hurt the Cubs just enough to make a difference.

Back when everybody played day games, the Cubs were not at a disadvantage, and they won pennants with regularity.

WHEN LIGHTS WERE INSTALLED IN MAJOR LEAGUE BALLPARKS:

1935: Cincinnati - Crosley Field (Reds)
1938: Brooklyn - Ebbets Field (Dodgers)
1939: Philadelphia - Shibe Park (A's & Phillies)
1939: Cleveland - Municipal Stadium (Indians)
1939: Chicago - Comiskey Park (White Sox)
1940: New York City - Polo Grounds (Giants)
1940: St. Louis - Sportsman's Park (Browns & Cardinals)
1940: Pittsburgh - Forbes Field (Pirates)
1941: Washington - Griffith Stadium (Senators)

NOTE: NO LIGHTS WERE INSTALLED DURING WWII BECAUSE STEEL WAS NEEDED FOR WAR EFFORT

1946: Boston - Braves Field (Braves)
1946: New York City - Yankee Stadium (Yankees)
1947: Boston - Fenway Park (Red Sox)
1948: Detroit - Briggs Stadium (Tigers)

AND THEN....

1988: Chicago - Wrigley Field (Cubs)
NOTE: 18 night games permitted during regular season 1988-2003, then 22 in 2004, 26 in 2005, and 30 in 2006-2018 (MLB average is 54 home night games per season per team).

As many of you probably know, Phil Wrigley had planned to install lights at Wrigley Field in December 1941 (in time for the 1942 season)immediately after the conclusion of the 1941 NFL season, but he instead donated the steel to the U. S. government after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the entry of the U. S. into WWII.

"When does TCR start jumping on the HIRE DEPODESTA bandwagon?? Or, if a deal doesn't get done with Epstein, HIRE EPSTEIN!!"

I hope never...

Depodesta ruined a pretty good team that Evans built. He started off by showing a complete dependency on the Philosophy of Beane that he ignored reality. His trade of Lo Duca showed to many that he really was just a guy with an excel spreadsheet who Beane kept in the closet. Then, his interpersonal skills really got in the way. Say what you want about Beane, but people like him, and like being around him. Players and other GMs enjoy talking to him. Depodesta is generally removed. People (including players, coaches, managers and GMs) don't find him compelling, and the media seems to not enjoy him either. Thus, when he ruined what was a pretty good team, the rope was very short for him.

I think the Dodgers will be much better off without Depodesta. They can go out and get back to what made them one of the best player development franchises out there over the past 30 years, hard core scouting.

CWtP: There are several reasons to be wary of Rafael Furcal, but I doubt that will stop Jim Hendry from pursuing him. Like it or not and for better or for worse, Furcal is probably at the top of Hendry's FA shopping list.

"TBone, are you seriously suggesting on here that Moises Alou used controlled substances to get ready for day games at Wrigley in 2003 and 2004???"

I don't know that he was pulling a Rush Limbaugh and having house keepers score in empty parking lots for him or if he was using over-the-counter stuff or had a perscription but I have it on good authority that he was controlling the effects of the night before in the way I described. He certainly isn't the only one doing it and he probably wasn't even breaking the law.

Just remember the rules of Cubs free agent negotiations...

A) Cubs rarely negotiate. They give a first, last, and only offer.

B) Free agent offers are usually low ball offers. This is nothing more than a P.R. campaign so the organization can say, "Look we gave him a fair offer, he was just asking for too much." In other words, don't blame us for not getting someone, we did everything in our power. Yeah, sure you did.

C)Cubs management will try and wait out free agents, hoping their contract demands come down. This works about 1% of the time, usually leaving the Cubs to sort from the best of the mediocre crap that is left.

D) If a free agent has some sort of connection to growing up near Chicago the Cubs expect that player to take a hefty pay cut just for the honor of playing for this proud winning franchise.

ESPN Radio is reporting the LA Dodgers have asked for, and received, permission to speak with Jim Hendry and Dusty Baker to fill the vacant GM and Manager spots in their organization.

You better not be yanking our chain. Que that choir of angels...

I hope I don't get you all angry with a really long post...but I love this history stuff.

I believe the one most significant factor in the Cubs failing to win at least one pennant in the last 60 years is too much day baseball.

Here's a fun read on what I consider to be the significant factor concept. I don't like to blame the day games/no lights effect.

http://www.springtrainingmagazine.com/history...

It's always hard to point to one thing that has led to such sports/baseball futility, and I respect/enjoy everything AZ Phil contributes here. I'd like to think the long stretch of losing isn't that simple to blame it on not having lights. I understand the lights issue could be a significant factor but I personally think it's ownership that is ultimately responsible. William Wrigley (PK's father) was a true baseball fanatic and the team prospered under his watch. His main GM was Bill Veeck, Sr. who worked in tandem with the owner's passion. P. K. inherited the team upon his dad's death in Jan 1932, and although they won the NL pennant in 1932 and again in 1938 with a similar core of players, that was the end of William's touch on the team. P.K.'s win in 1945 was from the effect of WWII as all teams were altered by players gone for the war effort. The Cubs that year just happened to have the best bunch of 4F's. It was also P.K. denial of Sam Sianis' goat that led to the "curse" which those who believe in baseball magic get to write about. Under P.K's watch were the awful teams of the 1950's and the very lame college of coaches of the 1960's. The only spark under his ownership was when Durocher was hired to manage and we all know that history. The Cubs of the 1970's were as futile as the 1950's teams. So there was no post season efforts from 1945 until the Trib took over in 1981. In the days were one man owned and ruled the team we were short changed for about 40 years.

So I'm blaming P.K. He may have been a benevolent mogul but didn't demand enough to make his team's win.

Cubster,

When did you hear that and was it a local or national update cuse I went net surfin and could not find it.

Chifan...that was Cubfan's post #85. I've looked to and the Dodgers are in the process of setting up an interview with Pat Gillick (who has already interviewed for the Philly job).

methinks there is some chain pullling going on.

Cubster,

My bad. I think you are right though I have not heard a ESPN local radio update. The next one should be in 15 minutes. So we'll see then.

I did just spot this in a totally unrelated topic, the Cubs have the 13th pick in the 2006 draft, which means if they sign a Type A or Type B free agent which Ryan, Furcal, Giles will all be most likely and Ryan and Furcal will most definitely be offered arbitration. The Cubs WILL NOT lose that pick as it's in upper half of the first round. They would lose their second round pick though.

Go get'em Hendry.

have we confirmed that #85 was bogus yet? you'd think that espn.com would have picked up a story reported on one of their radio statsions by now.

Yeah, I've had ESPN on at a couple intervals during the day and never heard about the Dodgers asking to interview Baker...in fact I heard last night that they were considering interviewing Orel Hershiser for GM and making a run at Bobby Valentine for MGR...but I've also heard that Gillick will get a shot at GM as well.

Lasorda is pushing for Valentine...it's been noted that since DePodesta was canned that Lasorda has been more prevalent in discussions.

Cubster,

John Holland should also be remembered for the flurry of successful players he drafted in the late 50s and early 60s. Ken Hubbs, Ron Santo, Don Kessinger (horrid leadoff man but a hell of a SS) George Altman, Dick Ellsworth, Lou Brock (yeah, not a great trade) and Tony Taylor (rule V draft) were all drafted and quickly made it to the majors. Quite a difference in that period and the "golden age" the Cub farm system is supposedly in right now.

-i think ichiro in left would be awesome. but like was aforementioned, he plays for nintendo and seems content with how awful they are lately. also, though not suprising, the the mariners have deals with japanese tour companies like kintetsu international and JTB (japan travel bureau) just to mention the top two that supply hordes of japanese tourism to seattle as part of other west-coast packages that include sf and vegas as well. i was with kintetsu before 9/11 put a dent in the travel industry, and the money made off ichiro playing in seattle was massive when coupled with the hospitality industry deals. im sure it still is after his hits in a season record. coupled with nights in la, vegas or sf theres a trip up to seattle with "eat where ichiro eats" options etc complete with signed goods and all that. hes a literal cash cow out there. the mariners are guarenteed seat sales from travel co. allotments every game! now how many teams have that while struggling to win?

-derek, aramis and manny sounds pretty sweet. imagine that!

-i think assuming rusch will start is mistaken first of all. but as ive said before, i think he was so hot/cold last year cuz of all the jerking around with him they had to do cuz of wood. he was solid from the pen to start the year, and started out pretty good starting the first time (with a stretch of 3 runs in 3 games for 24 innings). his september was a lucky one though with all the hits he gave up somehow going 4-0 with 1 ND. i say we should keep the lefty for long relief and spot matchups (not to mention being available for emergency starting duties).

-i find myself very uncertain about the possible scenarios for our OF, involving murton, pie, and whatever free-agents we sign (not to mention the first-pitch wonder) and our IF, involving nomar, walker, cedeno and furcal. one thing i want to know is why so much animosity toward neifi? although i do agree baker over used him (understatement) i think things could have been worse earlier without him. opinions?

word is gillick is getting an interview and he's lasorda's choice, hershiser as assistant gm and valentine as manager. Although I think it'll be more like Gillick, Hershiser in some capacity and Gillick will pick his manager (where's Pinella's phone #?). I imagine that Gillick is going to take a job where the manager is pre-determined.

Yeah but didn't Pinella publicly bash Gillick for not getting any deadline help in 2001? I believe Gillick is one of the reasons Pinella left Seattle...so I can't see Pinella going there if Gillick is the GM. I think he'll do TV this season and wait to see what happens with Torre/Yanks situation next off-season because if the Yanks don't win the W/S next year Big-Stein will can Torre as he'll only have to eat one year of contract then.

should of read: ....I imagine that Gillick isn't going o take a job where the manager is pre-determined.

I have no idea about the Piniella/Gillck relationship, just playing 6 degrees of seperation really, maybe Cito Gaston will be back?

Why would SEA even consider trading their only draw in Ichiro? They'd have to get 2 top of the rotation starters and I don't see anyone coming up with that. He isn't making that much, and it's not like SEA needs to move his contract...they're not hurting...if they were, they would've moved Guardado, Ibanez at the deadline last year.

Also, just because Rusch looks to be in the mix at 2/$6 it doesn't necessarily mean he'll stay with the Cubs all season, or will be penciled into the #5 starters slot. Hendry admitted on WGN Radio that not accounting for starting pitching depth was an error in judgment last off-season given Wood, Prior and Maddux's age. They'll go into '06 with at least 6 established starters, whether that includes Jerome Williams is debatable, but it doesn't appear that any of the prospects, Mitre, Hill, Guzman etc will be included into that mix. If the Cubs can't land Bj Ryan, I could see Hendry making a run at Aj Burnett (which Bruce Levine has also reported) even though I feel that it would be a major mistake.

I seem to remember Cubfan (or someone using his moniker) posting a bunch of bogus "ESPN Radio is reporting..." rumors last offseason. Unless someone can dig up a link to back this one up, I'm calling BS.

"I don't know that he was pulling a Rush Limbaugh and having house keepers score in empty parking lots for him or if he was using over-the-counter stuff or had a perscription but I have it on good authority that he was controlling the effects of the night before in the way I described. He certainly isn't the only one doing it and he probably wasn't even breaking the law."

Not only is that some of the best wording I have yet read here, but it is 100% true.

Amphetamines are the norm for baseball players. To hear that Moises was using them, legally or not, would not surprise me in the slightest. In fact, I'd imagine the numbers would be staggering if you got an honest answer to, "Have you ever used Aphetamines to prepare for a game?"

While it wouldn't suprise me at all to learn that players may pop adderal or ritalin to get energized and focused for a game, lets not forget that Meth and Cocaine can also be refered to as "speed" on the street. Theres a big distinction there...

Also, I'm always a little skeptical of comments just stating an acusation and being backed up with "according to someone I talked to that should know" or "amphetamines are the norm for baseball."

If it is such the norm, or the person is an unbashable source, back it up. Don't just start making accusations to defame someone's character unless you can openly justify your reasoning.

"The Pads Sports Talk station had Giles agent on this PM to discuss the situation......here are the factoids from the conversation...

The Pads have offered 3/$21m.....(not new, news)
Giles agent wants $11M per year.....
The basis is the belief Kornorko will sign for 4/$48 M not 5/$65...

The Talk show hosts believe the deal can be completed for $9M/yr giving the Pads a small home town discount......however.....the hosts, (one claims to be an "insider") believe if the Pads do not move off of the $7M figure that Giles will sign with STL for 3/$30.....they speculate that Giles believes he can be the difference the gets the Birds over the "hump"....

Giles preference is to stay in SD, but, speculation has it that if there is a $9M difference over 3 years ($21 vs $30M) that his next choice is STL."

St. Louis cannot afford Giles at that rate. They have $17M to spend on two starters(they could use Wainright, and/or Reyes for cheap), potentially two corner outfielders, a second baseman, and a couple of relievers(for Ray King and Tavares). If they bring Morris, Marquis, and Suppan back, that will take up about all of that. How about a 3yr/30M for Giles? Does Hendry have the guts to pull the trigger on that deal? what about 3/33....is he worth it? I don't know

"If it is such the norm, or the person is an unbashable source, back it up. Don't just start making accusations to defame someone's character unless you can openly justify your reasoning."

I believe a large number of people in the game use speed. I have heard that confirmed by independent sources. I don't need to prove it beyond to the levels required in a court of law for that to be my opinion.

Tribune is reporting that Rusch re-signed through 2007, no details though.

Okay, fess up! Which one of you wrote the Wikipedia
entry for Dusty Baker?

From Cubs.com on Glendon Rusch:
" He is 11-9 with a 3.94 ERA (91 ER/208.0 IP) in 35 starts and 4-1 with 2 saves and a 4.30 in 43 relief appearances."

I have no problem with this signing.

Michael Barrett (+$50,000 contract bonus) and Derrek Lee (+$100,000 contract bonus) just won Hillerich & Bradsby SILVER SLUGGER AWARDs.

"I don't need to prove it beyond to the levels required in a court of law for that to be my opinion."

You're correct in that you dont need to prove it for that to be your opinion, but if you have no proof to back it up, it just becomes total hearsay to everyone who reads it on here, about as valuable as the post saying that ESPN radio is reporting that Baker and Hendry are being interviewed for the LA job.

I really don't care what your post... its just that this board becomes a major waste of time when a significant number of posts start being statements supported by unsubstantiated hearsay rather than baseball discussions based on facts.

Well, the Cubs may not win the pennant in 2006 but Wrigley Field will host the Seventh Annual Gay Games in July.

See ya at the Cell. Go Sox.

I don't have many inside sources to this stuff but my source on the Alou comment was someone who played in a charity golf match with someone who would have direct knowledge. And far from defaming Alou, this person thought it was funny that with all the talk about steroids, no one seems to care about speed anymore. He didn't go into details about whether Alou's was legal or not, he just made the comment about Alou doing things the old fashioned way.

I heard this in June but only thought to post it when a thread turned to the difficulty of playing a lot of day games. It's not hot off the presses and it's not news. It's just the way one guy dealt with the problem.

Cubs just signed Rusch through 2007

Cubswinthepennant wrote:

"Well, the Cubs may not win the pennant in 2006 but Wrigley Field will host the Seventh Annual Gay Games in July.

See ya at the Cell. Go Sox."

What's the problem with this, CWTP?

"I really don't care what your post... its just that this board becomes a major waste of time when a significant number of posts start being statements supported by unsubstantiated hearsay rather than baseball discussions based on facts."

If I want FACTS, I'll go to somewhere that actually has more first hand knowledge of the facts. This is a fan site, with knowledgeable fans talking baseball. It is not a news source that reports the facts.

What I like most about sites like this is being able to talk baseball with other fans. When I want news, I go to news sources - not message boards.

The Cubs just announced there 'tentative' 2006 sked. IT SUCKS!!!! We finish the season against COLORADO (a blessing in disguise?) any way, check it out at Cubs.com.

"If I want FACTS, I'll go to somewhere that actually has more first hand knowledge of the facts. This is a fan site, with knowledgeable fans talking baseball. It is not a news source that reports the facts.

What I like most about sites like this is being able to talk baseball with other fans. When I want news, I go to news sources - not message boards."

When I say facts, I don't mean "The Cubs signed Rusch to a 2 year deal." I mean a discussion, for example, that Wood is a liability next year based on his past injury history.

There is a big difference of discussions based around facts such Woods injury problems and discussions based totally around unsubstantiated hearsay.

Just a pet peeve of mine this time of year I guess. All these posts such as "a source of mine says the Sosa to the Mets deal is done" are BS unless you can back up this hypothetical source.

Anyone can come on here and make claims based on nameless sources. But, at least to me, until I get more proof, the claim that America didn't land on the moon holds more water to me (which is very little) than posts referencing nameless sources.

Well Nate, my problem is the event is clearly discriminatory and therefore inappropriate use of the Wrigley Field venue. A Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Trans-Sexual sporting event will not be complete until it recognizes Inter-Species Sexual athletes as well.

you mad about ladies nights at bars, too?

cute response, cwtp, but kind of a cop-out

det/cle/min/cws played and no KC...damn.

STL must love their "regional rivalry"

"A Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Trans-Sexual sporting event will not be complete until it recognizes Inter-Species Sexual athletes as well." -- cwtp #119

but you're ok with MLB, which clearly discriminates against female athletes ...

MLB does in NO WAY discriminate against female athletes. Any woman can play professional baseball if she is good enough.

"Any woman can play professional baseball if she is good enough." -- Chad #124

really? so you're saying MLB can't find a female better than Macias? i'd say they are not looking hard enough ...

"based totally around unsubstantiated hearsay."

It is not at all unsubstantiated hearsay to say that a large percentage of major league players use speed. It is a well known and well documented fact. So to say that it wouldn't surprise anyone to hear that a player on the team that plays a majority of its home games during the day does use speed wouldn't be surprising at all either.

In either case, I'd take this over another "trade for Manny", "we will sign Beltran" or "Wood is going to pitch 200+ innings next year" post. I'd rather have this than another "Dusty is dumb" or "you hate Dusty" or "In Dusty we Trusty" or "Dusty is Crusty, Busty and Rusty" thread. I'd rather be honest about amphetamines in baseball and discuss someone's speculation fueled only by a "source" than one more post about Sosa, Bonds, Giambi, etc...

but that's just me.

and Dude...

:-) If your choice right now is talk to me about Steroids, or to these others posting about the Gay, Lesbian, Bi/Trans, etc. sports, which would you rather talk about? :-)

#125 JKJ

That was a joke right? I'm guessing so but its hard to tell in type.

Personally, I think we need some form of affirmative action in baseball that includes, not only race, but gender and inter-species as well. It would be good for the game of baseball and it's right up Selig's alley.

On a more serious note, do gay people really play baseball?

Personally, I think we need some form of affirmative action in baseball that includes, not only race, but gender and inter-species as well. It would be good for the game of baseball and it's right up Selig's alley.

On a more serious note, do gay people really play baseball?

"so you're saying MLB can't find a female better than Macias?"

Man, I didn't realize he was a she. Macias is one ugly woman.

My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with a girl who saw Ferris pass-out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.

Rumors without verifiable sources are a waste of time.

"#125 JKJ

That was a joke right? I'm guessing so but its hard to tell in type."

and so hard to type too! (yes, that's a joke).

Whoops.

"Macias is one ugly woman." -- #131

indeed!

The Talk show hosts believe the deal can be completed for $9M/yr giving the Pads a small home town discount......however.....the hosts, (one claims to be an "insider") believe if the Pads do not move off of the $7M figure that Giles will sign with STL for 3/$30.....they speculate that Giles believes he can be the difference the gets the Birds over the "hump"....

Giles preference is to stay in SD, but, speculation has it that if there is a $9M difference over 3 years ($21 vs $30M) that his next choice is STL."

St. Louis cannot afford Giles at that rate.

Giles would like to stay in SD but him and Klesko hate, and I mean with a passion, the OF fences in SD.

As for the Cardinals not being able to afford 3 years 30 million. Come on now. They could easily afford it. Larry Walker's $12.6 million salary comes off the books. The Cardinals will not be picking up the team option because it is worth $15 million for 2006. Not to mention Reggie Sanders $4 million isn't around either. So in total the Cards have $16.6 million dollars to throw towards Giles to replace all the production they got from Sanders and Walker last year.

So say the Cards land Giles they have plenty to go out and get a defensive star who can hit a little in Jaque Jones. Thus they spend about the same on the OF in 2006 as they did in 2005 but it is healthier, plays better defense and probably hits a little better than the 2005 team. Jones, Edmonds, Giles trumps Sanders, Edmonds, Walker.

And lets not forget brand new stadium for the Cards with a higher revenue stream. This non-sense the Cards can't afford Giles is exactly that, non-sense. They are/will be a major player for his services. Much like I think Houston will be also. Two teams who have played deep into the playoffs the last 2 years and gone to a World Series. For a player like Giles seeking a championship the Cubs will have to flash a hell of alot more cash than the Cards or Houston will want to offer.

That is the price of failure for 97 years. People don't want to come to play for a loser unless you pay out your ass for them.

if giles actually wants a 3yr contract in the 9/10m range i hope the cubs run very hard and fast away from that negociation. 37-39 years of giles at that price for a 5'11" slugger...yow.

"and Dude...

:-) If your choice right now is talk to me about Steroids, or to these others posting about the Gay, Lesbian, Bi/Trans, etc. sports, which would you rather talk about? :-)""

Haha X, nice point. I'd rather talk about any sort of steroid, supplement, etc. rumor than a gay olympics day at Wrigley. Not just because it has something to do with homosexuals, but mainly because it has nothing to do with baseball. I dont remember big touchy conversations about the Buffett concerts at Wrigley.

"My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with a girl who saw Ferris pass-out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.

Rumors without verifiable sources are a waste of time.""

Chad, I agree totally.

" Not just because it has something to do with homosexuals"

Not that theres anything wrong with that....

(A little Seinfeld reference to try and lighten the mood)

Moises himself, when asked how many baseball players use Amphetamines said, "Over 50 percent. Easy."

Interestingly, Felipe Alou responded, "I hope he's not one of the 50 percent"

Sorry Pops...I think you are out of luck.

Speaking of gay games, have you ever seen Albert Pujols naked? It is an amazing sight!

Dude, did you know that Raphael Furcal has Botox injections in his scrotum in order to remove the wrinkles?

Bring back Kyle Farnsworth to be Furcal's drinking buddy

Bring back Kyle Farnsworth to be Furcal's drinking buddy

Sounds like Steve and Dennis should hook up with
Farnsworth for a little anger management!

Go Cubs!! Bring back Sammy NOW!

Hey Clown, if you are going to bring back Sammy, then may well as bring back that brain dead idiot Dusty Baker too Dude. Defintely have Corey Patterson leading off and Glendon Rusch out of the bullpen, in fact why not just bring back La Troy to close and be sure to sit Murton on the bench while Holly is hitting .217 and Corey is striking out five times a game. Is it true that Neifi and Dusty are homosexual lovers? Imagine Dusty, Dick Pole and the Sarge in the Jacuzzi together, Dude

I think that Dennis Schumacher and Clown Penis are probably the most insightful and educated baseball fans I've ever heard of. I hope to spend some intimate moments with them in area bars soon.

Go Cubs! Bring back Vance Law and Hector Villanueva!

I think that Dennis Schumacher and Clown Penis are probably the most insightful and educated baseball fans I've ever heard of. I hope to spend some intimate moments with them in area bars soon.

Go Cubs! Bring back Vance Law and Hector Villanueva!

I think Steve is on to something. All the time he has spent drinking with Ronnie Whoo Whoo, has made him a visionary. Plus he has the cleanest hot tub in Bucktown.

Clown, thanks for the compliment. I learned it all on WGN radio 720. I am WGN instensive 24/7/365. I especially like to sit naked in a hot tub full of Jello and listen to Ron Santo. Kathy and Judy are lesbians. Spike O'Dell had his pubic hair removed and sewn into his bald scalp. Have you ever seen Nomar naked? Awesome baby!

I agee with Dennis. He is my best man and know all Cubs things. Plus all the stuff his has, you should see his balls.

Dennis is right again. Not only is he my best man, but the Cub and WGN expert. You should see his cub stuff and balls.

Gump, I have seen his balls in the locker room. He ought to try some of Furcal's Botox to inflate that sack of his, it is pretty droopy

Yeah, Furcal would be great, and to have Patterson gone would great too, but what would be even better than any of that would be for the Cubs to get some REAL uniforms. Face it, the Cub uniform absolutely SUCKS!

What's with that bear cub on the sleeve? Apropriately the bear/cub is running - does anyone find any humor in that? Go back to the cub they had back in the 60's. Toughen-up the Uniform and make these guys feel less foolish out on the field. Oh, and get rid of that solid blue pullover and the hats with the red bill - UGH!!!!

Oh, and why the Royal Blue instead of the more traditional Navy Blue? Look Tougher, Be Tougher.

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